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Lawrence Adams

Charlottesville, VA USA | Member Since 2005

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HELPFUL VOTES
17

  • Civilization: The West and the Rest

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Niall Ferguson
    • Narrated By Niall Ferguson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (806)
    Performance
    (678)
    Story
    (672)

    The rise to global predominance of Western civilization is the single most important historical phenomenon of the past five hundred years. All over the world, an astonishing proportion of people now work for Western-style companies, study at Western-style universities, vote for Western-style governments, take Western medicines, wear Western clothes, and even work Western hours. Yet six hundred years ago the petty kingdoms of Western Europe seemed unlikely to achieve much more than perpetual internecine warfare. It was Ming China or Ottoman Turkey that had the look of world civilizations.

    F. Ribeiro says: "Niall Ferguson's Most Enjoyable Book"
    "Nialls naills"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an interesting and comprehensive treatment of Ferguson's examination of the dominance of the West for the last half-millenium. It is well-written and mostly engaging, though it does cover some of the same ground as his "Ascent of Money," to be expected as Ferguson's interest is largely material history rather than intellectual or political history. The narration by Ferguson is for the most part good and easy to listen to. However, the rendition of the non-Scottish voices (whether by Ferguson or someone else, I can't tell) should have been dropped for a straightforward reading. The "foreign" accents are in most cases not believable, in many cases rather badly done, and in some cases risible and even offensive to the nationalities being portrayed. I still recommend the book and wish it a wide audience. It raises very important questions about the nature of "civilization" and the properties that make a civilization both viable and potentially victorious.

    17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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